Pain Management: Whiplash


Whiplash, also called neck sprain or neck strain, is injury to the neck. Whiplash is characterized by a collection of symptoms that occur following damage to the neck. In whiplash, the
intervertebral joints (located between vertebrae), discs, and ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerve roots may become damaged.


What Causes Whiplash?


Whiplash is caused by an abrupt jerking motion of the head, either backward or forward, and often occurs as a result of a car accident.


What Are the Symptoms?


Symptoms of whiplash may be delayed for 24 hours or more after the inital trauma. However, people who experience whiplash
may develop one or more of the following symptoms, usually within the first few days after the injury.


  • Neck pain and stiffness

  • headaches

  • Pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades

  • Low back pain

  • Pain or numbness in the arm and/or hand

  • Dizziness

  • Ringing in the ears or blurred vision

  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering

  • Irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue

How is Whiplash Diagnosed?


In most cases, injuries are to soft tissues such as the disks, muscles and ligaments, and cannot be seen on standard X-rays. Specialized imaging tests, such as CT scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be required to diagnose whiplash.

How is Whiplash Treated?


No single treatment has been scientifically proven as effective for whiplash, but pain relieving medications such as Motrin or Aleve along with gentle exercises, physical therapy traction, massage, heat, ice, injections and utrasound all have been helpful for certain patients.

In the past, whiplash injuries were often treated with immobilization in a cervical collar. However, the current trend is
to encourage early movement instead of immobilization. Ice may be applied for the first 24 hours, followed by gentle active movement.

Turner Chiropractic Clinic




Richard Turner, D.C.

1324 Mangrove, Suite 110

Chico, CA 95926

Office:  530-342-2111

Fax:  530-342-2116